CUMBERLAND — The last time Chris Magill ran in the “Yo” Raymond Memorial 5K, he was on the losing end of the closest finish in the race’s seven-year history.
In the 2011 event, Louis Raffetto of South Boston, Mass. edged the Cumberland native by a mere second, storming past Magill with less than a tenth of a mile to go to claim the thriller in a 16:39 time.
But after a year’s absence from the race, Magill was back at the starting line in front of Camp Ker Anna on Saturday morning, and the 40-year-old runner left little doubt as to who was going to rule the day. Magill broke out to a dominating lead after the opening quarter-mile downhill on Reservoir Road and never looked back in winning his third “Yo” Raymond title in a 16:51 time.
Magill outdistanced the runner-up finisher, Greenville’s Paul Prewitt, by 96 seconds, and the third-place finisher, Cumberland’s Chris Marshall (18:37), by nearly two minutes. It’s the second most lopsided victory in the race’s existence, with Magill capturing the 2008 race with a course-record time of 16:14 that handily topped Cumberland high schooler John Morgan by two minutes and four seconds.
Magill’s time was also the sixth fastest on the race’s scenic 3.1-mile, mostly flat, out-and-back course along Reservoir Road, and four of those six times belong to the former St. Raphael Academy and Iona College standout, including a 16:32 clocking in the inaugural 2007 race that gave Magill the first of his championships.
"I do like to try to run this race,” said Magill, who is also a six-time winner of another Cumberland race, the Arnold Mills 4-miler that takes place every Fourth of July. “It just depends on my other races and if it fits into my schedule, but I always try to get here. It’s in my backyard, and the Camp Ker Anna people are always so nice. It’s something I would like to do every year, but I can't tell from year to year.”
Magill raced with a balky left calf that saw him harness it with a calf sleeve after the race, and while that may have prevented him from producing a time that would have challenged his course record, it didn’t stop him from cruising to a convincing victory over Prewitt (who took third in last year’s race) and the rest of the 106 participants on hand.
“When I saw my lead at the turnaround point, I thought I had a good chance at winning,” said Magill. “I was pretty confident of that, so I kind of cruised it in for the last half of the race. I had a calf problem this past week, so I didn't want to really damage it. My body felt good; it's just that my calf didn't.”
The victory was one of the highlights to what has been an active year of running for Magill, who has run for the Boston Athletic Association for the past 14 years and is thriving in his first year as a Masters (ages 40-49) runner.
“This year has been a good year,” remarked Magill, who plans to “gear up” for cross country running this fall. "I’ve been running in a lot of BAA team races in the (USATF) New England Grand Prix series. It's my first year as a Master and I put in a lot of races -- mostly good races and a couple of tough ones, but mostly positive. The race before this, I ran in the Falmouth Road Race and I was the second Masters (runner) there, which I was very pleased with. I ran just about 5:21 a mile for seven miles.”
While there was no drama in Magill’s easy victory, there was a little suspense in the battle for the women’s title. Pawtucket’s Lindsay Anspach (who, like Magill, is a St. Raphael alumnus) captured the race in a 21:57 time that was good for 16th place overall and beat out Michelle Grieves of North Attleboro, Mass. by five seconds. Grieves, a member of the Wampanoag Road Runners, tried to come on strong at the end, but she couldn’t catch Anspach, a member of the Rhode Island Road Runners.
After Marshall finished third, Glenn Miller of Uxbridge, Mass. took the next spot in 18:50, the fifth time in the last six years he placed in the top six. Joe DiMuccio of West Hartford, Conn. took fifth in 19:02, and Lincoln’s Ray Sikorowicz, the winner of last year’s race, settled for sixth in 19:06, the sixth straight year he earned a top-six finish.
The third female finisher was Cumberland’s Jackie Hooper, who was 30th overall in 25:11 and improved her 2012 time at this race by 35 seconds. The next female to cross the finish line, Cumberland girls’ cross country and track and field coach Joyce Bonner, checked in with a 25:19 time that was more than two minutes faster than her 2012 time of 27:40 and allowed her to repeat as the women’s 50-59 age division winner.
And speaking of age division winners, 75-year-old standout Eddie Fromm, who resided in Uxbridge, but now calls Mesa, Ariz. home, was back in town and came away with his fifth 70-plus age division trophy in as many races. Fromm was 26th overall in a 23:21 time.
The other runners who won their age divisions were Providence’s Joe Murphy (boys’ 19-under, seventh overall, 19:26) and 11-year-old Lucy Howland (girls’ 19-under, 27:16), Marshall (men’s 20-29), Anspach (women’s 20-29), Prewitt (men’s 30-39), East Providence’s Kate McGowan (women’s 30-39, 27:10), Magill (men’s 40-49), Grieves (women’s 40-49), Miller (men’s 50-59), North Smithfield’s Paul Pare (men’s 60-69, 30:46), Woonsocket’s Marilyn Payette (women’s 60-69, 51:59), and Central Falls’ Connie Burgoyne (women’s 70-plus, 54:06).
The proceeds from the race (which was presented under a new name, the Navigant Credit Union "Yo" Raymond Memorial 5K Run/Walk and 1K Youth Run) went towards the children’s programs at Camp Ker Anna.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24